Life with the crew is like life with any family. There’s a deep love and connection that goes beyond just being label mates. That being said, every family has it’s fair share of trials and tribulations. All siblings fight from time to time. In the end, though, like a family, they helped to shape who I am and I’m incredibly proud to be a part of it.
Your great new single for Wolf + Lamb: Messin features two new tracks. Could you talk us through how you produced one them?
With “Messin”, I started it on a flight from LA to Montreal, (it was called “Flight to Montreal” for a while), and I was going for the sound of a lot of the stuff I was hearing on the radio growing up in the Bay Area, California. There was a lot of tracks that I was into then with that Latin freestyle, with these deep chords and poppy vocals, etc. I had a situation with a girl and thought it would lend itself well to the kind of simple, universal lyrics that a lot of those songs had. Then when Angelica (from Body Language) got on it, it all came together to really make this kind of 90s Latin house radio jam that I was looking for. The “Shades Up” dub was a stoned tangent I went on while mixing the original forever that ended up being something really cool with a old-school sunrise house feel.
With “Hard 2 Say”, the song started off sounding really dark. I made most of the drums with synths so it was really sharp and industrial sounding. Then I added the vocoder and the bass at the same time and it totally changed the dynamic of the song. I’m a big fan of that, when something starts off really dark or really tough, then a new element is added to the equation and your emotional perception of the whole is transformed, and the parts that came off as tough ends up working to heighten that new emotion. I love that alchemy.
Midnight Magic and FSQ both provide diverse remixes. What’s your relationship with those artists?
I saw Midnight Magic for the first time in Berlin when I was living there a few years ago, when I first starting playing out. They totally blew my mind. I had already been rinsing “Drop Me A Line”, “Beam Me Up” and all those tracks to death, but seeing them live was just something else. Tiffany Roth in particular carries such a commanding presence but at the same time has such levity and charisma. Also a really great and funny dialogue with the crowd, unsure if they could even understand her or not. That really had an impact on the way I wanted to perform my music when I started playing live. On top of that, all their remixes are fire, so I was honored to have them involved.
FSQ are close friends that are really so talented. They carry the Funkadelic torch and have a deep funk lineage that comes out in everything they do. It was really amazing to get an interpretation of the track that had live instruments and real soul in it, and I think it really shows a different perspective of the track. They’re really great at flipping tracks like that, as they’ve been consistently proving. Everybody should keep a keen ear to these guys.
Your music a very emotionally charged. What is the importance of Soul in music for you, and how do you feel about the art of song writing in 2015?
I’ve always been really connected to music that elicits strong emotion, from a lot of different genres, and that’s had a big effect on the way I produce. Sometimes that’s a conscious choice, sometimes it happens by accident. It would be a challenge for me not to write in that way. I think music can be a powerful healer, especially when it strikes those deep-rooted chords we all share as humans, and I’d love to be able to produce that kind of effect with anything I do.
Can you tell us about any of your favourite instruments/ software that you like to use when producing?
I guess it’s become pretty clichÃ©, but I’m a sucker for old analog gear. The Roland drum machines, Juno, and Prophet are probably the big three in my studio. That being said, I’m really into FM synthesis too and the amazing “90s” sounds they make. This EP, and “Messin” in particular is mostly digital FM stuff. I have a DW-6000 and R3 from Korg and a Yamaha DX-100, they can do some really sweet, nostalgic things that I love. Software wise, I use Ableton to track the stuff with some of the better soft synths involved sometimes.
Can you tell us about the Crew Love event at Studio 338 in London?
Most of the crew was involved and it was really special. That space is great, we played here last tour at the end of our week long bus tour, which was a special day. It’s outside and there was a lot of light coming in, which is the right kind of setting for our kind of party. London’s full of friends, as well, so it’s always a nice mini-reunion when we play here.
What are your forthcoming plans for live performance and recording?
Barcelona is coming up on Friday then Bucharest on Saturday, and Paris on Sunday. Then I’ll be in Colombia (Cali, Medellin and Bogota) next weekend. Hopefully I’ll be able to snag a recording of something soon!